Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday promised the country’s police force will be expanded with 20,000 policemen. Meanwhile newspaper El Espectador found out that of the 600 cops sent to Bogota to improve security, 500 are trainees.
Santos announced the expansion of the country’s public security forces at the inauguration of the policemen who were called to Bogota after the murder of a priest and ongoing reports about crime in Colombia’s capital.
“In the Development Plan was the number of 10,000 policemen included; 10,000 additional policemen over the next three and a half years. I want to rectify this number because I think it is inconsistent with what we proposed in the [presidential] campaign. In the campaign we said we would give 20,000 more men to the police and I want to say today that this is what we will deliver,” said the President when welcoming the newly arrived policemen.
Santos admitted that Bogota, currently counting on 20,000 policemen, in fact needs at least 35,000 cops to enforce security. In 2009, the city’s government secretary said the city needed 20,000 cops to ensure safety for its citizens and complained that the majority of policemen on Bogota streets were trainees.
Contrary to public perception, Santos insisted that crime fighting in Bogota is “going well.”
“According to the data, homicides in the city have seen an important reduction of 8% [in the first months of] this year [compared to the same period last year],” said the President, adding that robberies went down 11%. On Saturday, Santos claimed that high-profile crime nationwide went down 11%.
Following the inauguration of the newly arrived Bogota policemen, newspaper El Espectador reported that of the 600 policemen that are to improve security in the capital, 100 are traffic cops and the remaining 500 are trainees of which 200 will also assist traffic and 300 guard mass transit system Transmilenio.